Jamie Reid art
He showed up in my inbox, androgynous at the time, as pure potentiality, a MySpace friend request link. It was my choice to leave him unborn or to bring him to life with a click on the link. Curiosity made the choice for life. I was the willing accessory so I checked him out.
He was a young punk. He had on the requisite black AC/DC tee shirt. His head was cocked and angled back in a who-gives-a-fuck way so that his shoulder-length black hair covered one side of his face. He peered defiantly out of the exposed eye, which was pleasantly shaped. As was his dimple and mouth and chin.
I clicked on his baby bad-ass face to go to his full profile. Hilarious. Dude sells Avon in the Oak Park area! His “About Me” section read like a girl’s, “If you need eyeliner, eyeshadow, foundations, or just want to see a catalog…and many people aren’t aware Avon has a great line of men’s products…”
His interests and life goals were loftier than his looks. “My primary interest is in Aristotle’s natural philosophy, but I’m also more broadly interested in ancient philosophy and the history of science and astronomy…I’m attending Fox Community College and have plans to go to University of Pittsburgh to get my bachelor’s degree and then go for my doctorate.”
He had a whopping 219 friends, all women of varying ages, most of them middle-of-the-road attractive with the occasional stand-out. I clicked on a random few and from what I could tell at a glance, none were any different than any other chick on MySpace.
By now I was so intrigued by this mixed bag of debts and assets, my journalistic senses so piqued with the incongruence of it all, that I was compelled to find out what was up with this guy. So I approved his friend request and sent him a quick note via MySpace e-mail, “Dude, you’re the coolest Avon rep I’ve ever seen!”
The next day he sent me an e-mail, “I am? How tis that?”
Not what I expected from a modern-day student of Aristotle, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and answered, “Absolutely. Most Avon reps I’ve known are fat, frumpy, older ladies =:-O”
He responded, “Lol is that what makes me better?”
Oh lord, it’s bad enough his supposed grad school mind didn’t get him a scholarship. And really at that point I continued the nonsense because Curiosity kept goading me. I wrote back, “Did I say anything about better? But let’s be real—it has all the potential in the world to make you better! Facts is facts—aesthetics sells. How’s that answer?”
He wrote back, “Would you like an Avon book?”
OK, that’s it. That-ain’t-right vibes were crawling all over me and I was ready to nail the guy. I responded, “I’d rather interview you. I work for the Chicago Tribune. You’ll get some attention that’ll help you sell lip-liner like hotcakes. You got it going on it seems. Seems you’re super-enterprising, have mucho meaningful interests and goals, and it’s not everyday one runs into the atypical likes of you selling Avon! Let me know if you’re interested.”
He didn’t respond.
The following day, before I headed to the office, I checked MySpace and his profile had been deleted. Interesting, I thought, and made a note to re-check some of his women friends’ sites, to look deeper into the comments, and to do more internet research in general. Then I took off for the office.
No sooner had I plopped my purse on my desk and turned my computer on, my boss came in and handed me an assignment, “Michelle, take care of this, would you? I’ve had to put Dan on something else. It has to go to print yesterday. You got it covered?”
I just nodded and began looking at the paperwork. The CPD had just captured a 19-year-old male charged with rape and had found him to be connected to a series of rapes in the Chicago area. And there was a picture of my Avon guy. Sheer dumb luck.
Jamie Reid’s “Never trust a punk” artwork snagged from http://www.retrotogo.com/2008/04/jamie-reid-neve.html
banksy graffiti from http://www.duncancumming.co.uk/photos.cfm?photo=2672
Click here for more on prompt “#118 – Chance Encounter” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.